SA holds on tight, but can’t pull off win

Published 8:15 am Friday, January 16, 2009

COURTLAND—An undersized and outmanned Southampton Academy hung tough on Tuesday night against a superior opponent, but the Raiders could not quite overcome a subpar first half and fell 50-47 to Steward School in a Virginia Commonwealth Conference boys’ basketball game.

Southampton Academy played the game with just seven players, almost half as many as the Spartans (7-3, 5-1) and had a distinct height disadvantage. Early on, it looked like Steward might make it a blowout. The Spartans led 17-7 after the first quarter and 29-16 at the half, holding the Raiders (4-6, 2-4) to just four field goals.

In the third quarter, the Raiders rallied, taking advantage of turnovers and poor shot selection by the Spartans. Trailing 31-16, Jacob Rose hit a jumper and layup to cut the Steward lead to 31-20 at the 5:33 mark. Tyler Lass followed with a 3-pointer and a drive to drop the Spartans’ lead to 31-25 with 3:32 left in the period. But Steward recovered and ended the period with an 8-2 run to close out with a 12-point lead.

Down by 10, Southampton Academy rallied again. With 2:18 to play, Rose canned a jumper and Blake Drewry drilled a 3-ball. Rose sunk two free throws and suddenly, the Raiders were down 46-41 with 1:12 to play.

Alex Aldredge missed a jumper with 45 seconds to play for Steward. On the other end, Christopher Ray was fouled by David Khoury with 34 second to play. With a chance to cut the lead to three points, Ray missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Steward took advantage when Wade Martin fouled Steward’s Andrew Adkins, who made both free throws.

“We’re up 46-41 and we have two shots at the free throw line. If we make them, we’re down three with 30 seconds,” said SA head coach Hudson Bryant. “We missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and they made 8-of-8 free throws down the stretch and that’s why they won the game.”

Martin’s 3-pointer at the buzzer made it closer, but the Raiders came up short.

Lass scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Rose added 12 points and pulled down 10 boards for the Raiders.

Although Southampton Academy lost, Bryant sensed that the team learned that they can play with quality teams.

“This is really the first game that it mattered to the kids that we were losing. I am trying to change the culture around here, the way they think when they enter the game,” Bryant said. “I think it clicked in about the second quarter of this game. They realized that they can compete against teams that they are just as good as, or athletically inferior to. I could tell after the game that it hurt them that they lost this game. Hopefully this will be a turning point in the season and we’ll start winning some games that we are not supposed to win.”

SA hosts Kenston Forest School tonight.